Whether you’ve travelled via an airport or sent off a package to an overseas friend, chances are you’ve interacted with the Australian Border Force (ABF) in some fashion. But what is it really like to be on their team?
This article is sponsored by the Australian Border Force.
ABF officers work to keep Australia safe and protected in fast-paced, dynamic environments, while developing careers that are both challenging and rewarding.
They’re the folks in dark blue uniforms that make sure everything coming in and out of Australia is above board. From scoping out your baggage and passing on any fruit you may have accidentally brought in to Biosecurity, through to becoming a crew member on the ABF’s fleet of vessels, they’re there to make sure Australia is protected.
But there are actually a lot of different aspects of working with the ABF that you may not expect. Here are a few skills and opportunities that working for the ABF can give you.
#1 Reading body language
The ABF often works with other law enforcement agencies and government departments to research, investigate and gather intelligence in order to combat and disrupt criminal activity involving illicit narcotics, firearms and tobacco; as well as trafficking of illegal foreign workers and other types of criminal activities.
As such, ABF officers are trained to read body language – it’s one aspect of the examination process that also includes skilled questioning, background intelligence searches, baggage examinations and physical searches and tests.
When you’re working across such sensitive areas, intuition and reading body language are paramount — and they’re skills you’ll pick up instinctively as you go through the ABF training program.
#2 Working in diverse environments and teams
The ABF works closely with other agencies including the Australian Federal Police, Australian Defence Force, the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, and more, so there’s always something new each day. The opportunity to work within multi-agency taskforces and be part of joint-agency operations means you’re able to level up skills you might not expect.
But it’s also about location, location, location. ABF officers patrol Australia’s air and seaports, remote locations, mail and cargo centres, and extended maritime domain, performing specialist functions relating to investigation, compliance and immigration detention operations all over Australia.
If you’re stationed in Northern Command (a branch of the ABF operating across WA and NT), for example, you might be involved in the monitoring and reporting of unauthorised maritime and air movements, the disruption of serious organised crime, or joint remote area and border patrols.
#3 Working with the Marine Unit
Whether you’re passionate about conservation or just feel at home on the water, you might consider being a part of the ABF’s Marine Unit.
Working in the unit gives you the opportunity to gain marine qualifications and become part of a tight-knit crew patrolling Australia’s waters. It may mean involvement in law enforcement operations, the protection of Australia’s fisheries and the protection of life at sea.
The environment can be dynamic and challenging, but you’d be on the frontline of Australia’s national maritime security — so there’s scope for you to make a huge difference.
The bottom line is that there are actually plenty of hidden skills that you might not equate with working at the ABF. The training program runs across 12 months, giving you all the skills and experience you need for a satisfying career in the ABF.
Every job has its intricacies and layers, and all will teach you valuable lessons.